Notes: The line from Bradford to Thornton via
Queensbury was opened as a joint venture between the Lancashire
& Yorkshire Railway and the Great Northern Railway between
1876 and 1878. Once out of Bradford, the line was mostly rural
and necessitated the construction of many earthworks, viaducts
and tunnels. Its hilly nature earned it the nicknames of 'the
Alpine route' or 'the switchback' from its loyal drivers.
When it opened in 1878, Thornton station was the terminus of
the line from Bradford. The connection with Halifax came in
1879 and Keighley in 1884.
The station had an island platform reached from the road by
a 50 ft iron bridge. This was typical GN construction and was
also used at Clayton and Denholme stations.
It was situated at the top of a deep valley and was reached
from Queensbury via the magnificent 13 arch Thornton viaduct,
a listed structure which is still in existence and is soon to
be reopened as a public footpath.
Like Great Horton, Thornton had a busy passenger service, but
was more used for its goods facilities. It has a stone warehouse
measuring 130 ft by 50 ft and handled coal, wood, livestock
and animal feeds.
After the war, Thornton won the best kept station award on
several occasions. Goods services ceased in 1965, after which
the line was lifted
In May 2005 a section of the railway was brought back to life
as the Great
Northern Trail. The first section of the new trail runs
from Cullingworth to Harecroft Eventually the new trail will
cover a distance of 10 kilometres between Queensbury and Cullingworth
but it will be five years before it is completed.
The new trail is availbale for walkers, cyclists and horse
riders and is also suitable for wheelchairs. The section of
the trail already open includes two viaducts including the listed
Viaduct near Cullingworth
To see the other
stations on the Halifax - Bradford - Keighley lines click on
the station name: Halifax
St. Pauls, Pellon,
Road, St. Dunstan's,
Adolphus Street, Denholme,
& Ingrow East